Ivy hoops coaches pledge formal support for Black Lives Matter, detail accountability measures

The Ivy League on Friday announced an initiative including all 16 men’s and women’s basketball programs expressing commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Called “Ivy Promise,” the initiative comes with a message from the 16 women’s and men’s basketball head coaches:

We have heard our student-athletes’ and communities’ call to action. The anger, disappointment and hurt felt across our country in recent weeks has been eye-opening and inspired important conversations in our communities. This is how we will stand together to proceed forward on the path of making progress for humanity. This is our promise.The Ivy Promise represents the Ivy League basketball coaches’ commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. While individually our platforms are influential, combined our platforms can be a catalyst for change. We are committed to achieving reform. We will stand against inequality and discrimination until all people are afforded the same opportunities in wages, healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. Together we will stand for justice, educate the people, and support our communities.Our initial action items as a league are as follows:

  • As the Head Coaches of Ivy League Basketball, we will use our status and privilege to be vocal advocates for equality for all.
  • When possible, our programs will buy from local black and minority owned businesses to help uplift our communities economically and decrease the wealth gap.
  • Our coaches and student-athletes will not only participate in All Vote No Play on November 3, but also use our voting power in local and state elections because that is where topics like criminal justice reform begin.
  • We will use our games on MLK Day and during Black History Month in February to avidly celebrate Black history and Black excellence.
  • Each Ivy League basketball team will donate to and volunteer with the local organizations that are working to address the specific needs of our community.

This is just the beginning.

Read moreIvy hoops coaches pledge formal support for Black Lives Matter, detail accountability measures

Ivy hoops community shows support for Seth Towns, racial justice

Seth Towns on the sideline for a Harvard men’s basketball game during his senior campaign, which he missed due to injury | Photo by Erica Denhoff

Just a day after graduating from Harvard, former Ivy Player of the Year Seth Towns was detained and subsequently released by police Friday in his hometown of Columbus after he protested nonviolently in response to the death of unarmed black people at the hands of police officers across America.

The protest in Columbus was one of many sparked by the video record of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis while three other officers stood nearby Monday.

Seth Towns addressed the incident on Twitter Saturday afternoon, noting that he was as proud of his nonviolent protest in downtown Columbus to cry out against the deaths of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician fatally shot in her home by police in March.

Read moreIvy hoops community shows support for Seth Towns, racial justice

Columbia women win fifth straight, make big push toward Ivy Madness

Columbia rode its stingy second half defense, Abbey Hsu’s hot fourth quarter shooting and its deep bench to beat Harvard, 62-57, notching its fifth straight win and moving within a game of its first-ever birth in the Ivy Tournament.

Harvard (14-10, 5-6 Ivy) entered Friday night’s contest on a three-game losing streak, including an 89-64 defeat at Columbia (16-8, 7-4) two weeks ago. The Crimson hoped a return to Lavietes Pavilion, where the team was 8-2 on the season, would help turn the tide and return team back to the league’s upper division.

Read moreColumbia women win fifth straight, make big push toward Ivy Madness

Harvard’s Katie Benzan commits to Texas for 2020-21 season

It appears that Katie Benzan will be trading in her crimson for burnt orange next season.

The three time first team All-Ivy guard, who announced she would forgo her senior season in late August, informed the Harvard Crimson newspaper that she verbally committed to the University of Texas at Austin for a graduate transfer year in 2020-21.  She will formally sign a National Letter of Intent in the upcoming early signing period that runs from November 13 through 20.

Read moreHarvard’s Katie Benzan commits to Texas for 2020-21 season

Ivy League coaching carousel

After three years without any head coaching changes, things changed in a big way at the end of April.  Princeton’s Courtney Banghart left after 12 seasons and seven Ivy titles to rebuild the program at the University of North Carolina. The Tigers search lasted a month, ending with the hiring of former UConn guard and long-time Tufts head coach Carla Berube.

On the men’s side, the conference almost lost James Jones to St. John’s, but the Yale coach finished as the Red Storm’s runner-up.  Weeks later, Jones signed an extension that will keep him in New Haven until the end of the 2025-2026 campaign.  In May, Brown’s Mike Martin was reported to be at Holy Cross interviewing for the Crusaders job, but a probable extension kept him in Providence.

Several Ivy assistants made the jump to head coaching positions with Columbia’s (and former Harvard’s) Kenny Blakeney heading to Howard, Penn’s Bernadette Laukaitis returning to Holy Family, Brown’s Tyler Simms going to Clark, and Brown’s Sara Binkhorst moving to Wheaton.

In the off-season’s strangest coaching news, Dartmouth promoted assistant coach Pete Hutchins to associate head coach on March 19th, only to see him jump to an assistant coaching position at George Mason on May 2nd.

The complete list of changes, from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020, for all 16 Ivy teams are noted below.

Read moreIvy League coaching carousel

Ivy hoops roundup – Sept. 25, 2019

  • Princeton’s Bella Alarie completed her last 3×3 tournaments with USA Basketball with a silver medal effort in  Edmonton this past weekend and a bronze medal showing in Montreal in early September.  Overall, her team came in seventh place in the 28-team field.
    The two-time Ivy Player of the Year, who also picked up a silver medal with USA Basketball at this summer’s Pan American Games, continues to improve her stock as she heads into her final year for the Tigers.  Michelle Williams of the WNBA listed Alarie as one of the 12 potential first-round picks in next years’s Draft, while Howard Megdal of High Post Hoops had her as the number five pick for the Minnesota Lynx.
  • Harvard men’s coach Tommy Amaker told Jon Rothstein that 2018 men’s Ivy League Player of the Year, Seth Towns, has been cleared for non-contact work.  Towns, a co-captain of this year’s Crimson team, missed all of last year due to a knee injury sustained in the 2018 Ivy Tournament final against Penn.
    Earlier this month, the senior from Columbus, Ohio, was one of 16 players attending the NCAA Elite Student-Athlete Symposium for Men’s Basketball in Indianapolis.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – Sept. 25, 2019

Katie Benzan leaves Harvard basketball

The calendar has not even turned to September and we have our first major development of the 2019-20 season.  The Harvard Crimson broke the news that rising senior Katie Benzan, a three-time first team All-Ivy guard, has decided to step away from the program and end her Ancient Eight career.

“Katie has been a remarkable player in our program for three years,” head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said in a statement emailed to the paper. “After much discussion with the coaching staff, she has decided to step away her senior year.”

Read moreKatie Benzan leaves Harvard basketball

Harvard women’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

The dean of Ivy coaches, Kathy Delaney-Smith, announced the 2019-20 schedule for the Harvard women on Wednesday.  The season, her 38th at Harvard, includes 13 nonconference games with five matchups against teams that made the postseason in 2019.

Four of these teams, California, Quinnipiac, Rutgers, and Maine, made it to March Madness, while Hartford earned a spot in the WNIT.

Following the Nov. 5 season opener at Northern Illinois, the Crimson will welcome Cal to Lavietes Pavilion on the 8th.  The Golden Bears, previously coached by former Brown guard and present Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb, will look for revenge after Harvard upset the then-No. 14 team, 85-79, last December.

Read moreHarvard women’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

Ivy hoops roundup – July 17, 2019

 

  • Ben Baskin of Sports Illustrated published a longform article Thursday on former Penn head coach Jerome Allen and his part in a recruitment scandal that saw the Ivy great accept money from a parent to place an unqualified student-athlete onto the school’s recruited athlete list.  The author wrote his article, which is available online and in the print edition, “with the aid of court transcripts and exhibits, financial records, news reports and interviews with three dozen of his friends, classmates, teachers, coaches, players, mentors and coworkers, many speaking anonymously for fear of personal and professional ramifications.”
    The article provided the following new information: During his playing career, Allen faced a series of civil suits over unpaid debts—$5,000 owed to a car-leasing company, $13,000 to a bank, $6,700 to a landlord.
    – While Allen was coaching Penn, the school sued him for nearly $25,000 for failing to pay off two decades of accrued interest on a loan he had taken out as a student

    Read moreIvy hoops roundup – July 17, 2019

Ivy hoops roundup – May 4, 2019

Another week full of Ivy news, with none bigger than Courtney Banghart’s move from Princeton to North Carolina.  The former Big Green All-Ivy guard and Tigers head coach signed a five-year contract to take over a Tar Heels program that needs a new start.  Per Jeff Gravely of WRAL in Raleigh, Banghart’s contract starts at $650,000 in 2019-2020 and increases to $730,000 in 2024-2025.  Athletic and academic bonuses are included that can increase the yearly salary by $10,000 to $470,000.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – May 4, 2019